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The Spirituality of Sport


Photo by: Dmitry Kalinin

On the heels of Seattle’s stunning Super Bowl victory over Denver, and in the week leading up to 18 televised nights of the Sochi Winter Games, it seems like a good time to think about one of life’s great ironies.

In some ways religion and the games we play seem like a strange pairing. But who can deny the ever-present mix of superstition and spirituality that shows up not only in the religious section of the news, but also on the global face of sport.

As a young boy, in the early days of television, I remember watching boxer’s make the sign of the cross as they came out of their corners on the Friday night fights. During those same years, I remember a quote displayed in big letters high on the gymnasium wall of the first school I attended:  “When the One Great Scorer comes to mark against your name, he writes- not that you won or lost— but how you played the Game.

P1050219Many years later, time hasn’t diminished my sense of the sport gods who, at the very least, seem to show up to jinx announcers who love to keep track of an athlete’s errorless play. Grown ups still huddle to pray before a game. Victors thank heaven when they win— while losers find the perceived meaning of their lives shaken and clarified by a defeat.

Yet as easy as it might be to laugh off the foolishness of religion and sport, it would probably be wise to acknowledge the possibility that God himself has an interest in the games. Maybe the games even have a place in general revelation. Isn’t it all too obvious that all of the issues of our lives, including our reluctant, mysterious reliance upon our Creator, show up in the ecstasies of our victories and the agonies of our defeats—even on the playing field?

Could that be why the Apostle Paul was not afraid to associate spirituality with first century Greek games? (1Cor 9:24-27)

Today on the threshold of the Sochi Winter Olympics, we look forward to being inspired as young men and women, from every nation of the world, come together in the closest thing to peace we know. Yes, there’s the nationalism, the pursuit of gold, the effort to be first at a competitor’s loss. But somewhere in the mix there is also a reminder that there is something about life that deserves our complete and total effort. There’s a battle to be fought. Rules to be kept. Honor to be sought. And an outcome that is both within and beyond our control.

At the very least maybe this will be a time to remember that the games are a reminder that we are all being called to give our hearts to something and Someone who may one day show us that what was most important was not whether we won or lost—but how we played the game.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAJust recently I learned the source of that quote. Coach Wooden of the UCLA Bruins attributes it to a 20th century sports writer by the name of Grantland Rice— who is remembered for more than his words. According to Wikipedia, before leaving for the service in World War I, Mr. Rice entrusted his life-savings of about $75,000 to a friend. After the war, he learned that his friend had not only lost all of the money in bad investments, but that he had taken his own life in shame. Rice, reportedly felt personally responsible for putting “that much temptation” in his friend’s hands. He made monthly contributions to the man’s widow for the next 30 years.

We may never know what motivated Mr. Rice to show such honor and compassion. But his words may give us a clue… and remind us… that even the games we play can tell us a lot about life.

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63 Responses to “The Spirituality of Sport”

  1. Bill says:

    Good Morning, Mart!

    An interesting post.

    You wrote:

    “…it would probably be wise to acknowledge the possibility that God himself has an interest in the games.”

    It’s not like God was betting on the Seahawks. So I don’t think he cares who won the Super Bowl. (And I know you didn’t write that; I was just kidding.)

    However, if by that you mean you think he cares how we conduct ourselves, I would have to agree. If we, as Christians, are gracious, play fair, do our best, and be good stewards of our money, then that sort of behavior might make God happy.

    All highly competitive sports show everyone who we are as people and what we value most. So, for that reason, I think sports are a good barometer of the spiritual health of a nation.

    The story of Grantland Rice was fascinating. Never heard it before. I’ll have to do more research on the subject. Thank you for sharing it.


  2. SFDBWV says:

    Didn’t watch the “Superbowl”, didn’t care, and didn’t know who won until this morning. My life is too filled with my own battles.

    Got up this morning to snow and so after getting Matt squared away I went about my normal duties of cleaning off the back walkways, plowing, collecting the weather information and feeding the critters.

    Whereas life is a battle field it is not a game. In fact the games men played before this era of sports gods, was meant to hone their war skills.

    Yes there is honor in achievements, but unless your achievements help to ease the pain of others, enhance the lives of others, provide a quality of being that leads others to imitate then your sports achievements are just bragging rights.

    The quality of being given in Grantland Rice shows me that he was a man of true honor; he served his country in war and was a friend in the truest sense. Even though I read from someone here they thought men who went to war were foolish, I have to disagree strongly and was sad to read it said here by one of us.

    I will leave the subject of sports to someone else as what I have seen it become disgusts me and in no way exhibits *honor*.


  3. remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA Friends —

    In my young life I watched football with excitement — my school teams as well as professional teams. My philosophy was more, “Dog-eat-dog,” along with its corollary, “If you’ve got a problem, hang up and dial 911.”

    Now, at my tender age, I wince and actually feel pain in the solar plexus when players tackle one another. It is difficult to watch the play because I hide my eyes or look away at those moments. So, I have given it up.

    No sour grapes here except for the head and neck injuries players sustain — and the serious life “end-game” of migraines, paralysis and even Parkinson’s Disease. The breath-taking amounts of money exchanged on advertising are entirely secondary, in my humble opinion. $4M per 30-seconds of ad time.


  4. remarutho says:

    Thanks for the link to Tony Dungy’s blog, Mart. He makes wonderful analogies and draws good moral teachings from sports.

  5. Artle says:

    “It is a true blessing, God is so good” was Russell Wilson’s, the Seattle quarterback, first words in the post-game interview essentially spoken to 100,000,000 viewers (of course, the Denver fans might have tuned out by that point).

    I’m not a huge pro sports fan, but when I watch the games, I enjoy the game for the game it is. Even if I’m in favor of one team or another, a good play is a good play. A perfectly executed play involving eleven players who all move in different directions and yet together at the same time has to involve a little faith in each other, if not faith in higher power and results in a collective perfection.

    I think a player who realizes that how they play the game is infinitely more important than winning, frees their mind from the burden to be perfect and the freedom in turn allows athletic perfection to increase.

    I think a believer who realizes that how they fight for Christ is infinitely more important than winning, frees their mind from the burden to be perfect and the freedom in turn allows Christian perfection to increase.

    In both cases, focusing on how you play/fight increases the chance of winning and in the case of the believer, increases the chance that all who play/fight will eventually win.

  6. poohpity says:

    How we play the game my oh my that just about says it all. When we see our brother/sister stumble do we leave them there or give them a hand up and brush them off to continue the race. Finishing would just not be the same without them along side us crossing the finish line. At times even going back to get them and not putting any undo blocks in their path that they will stumble over. Out playing each other with doing good not for the praise or applause of men but to honor God.

    Superstition is in almost every sport and sad to say is also found in the life believers as people mix it in due to a lack of knowledge. Mixing different philosophies or traditions expecting God to do something that He may not have done without them as if it was dependent on them.

    The command to abide in the Lord with the Holy Spirit’s help and with self discipline do we stay attached to the vine. Daily prayer, reading God’s Word and listening to and for His voice above our own seems to be like the preparation that an athlete goes through to prepare for a game but our preparation is so we can just run this race of life abundantly with joy.

    In different interviews with the athletes who are Christians I did not hear any of them asking for the Lord to help their team win over the other but that they would just do their own personal best. They did not ask God to do the training for them as they just showed up to play but they trained and asked God for strength, endurance, perseverance and to bring glory to His name by how they played the game and interacted with all players on and off the field. Then how they would react with the win or loss.

  7. poohpity says:

    Unsportsmanlike conduct can go hand in hand with unchristian like conduct both are neither productive or beneficial for anyone watching or participating but show the heart of the player and where their focus is and usually it is on them.

  8. poohpity says:

    I think how one takes loss is just as important as how one takes a win.

  9. 1000yrsofpeace says:

    Spending most of my youthful non Christian life consumed in sports, both playing and coaching. Matt’s commentary is especially meaningful to me. My social circles still expose me to much doubt by some regarding my faith. Now like Russell Wilson I now witness for the the lord when opportunity arises. On this Topic I often comment “If luck [ superstition, ritual, ect. ect. ect.]was any easier to define than Providence I’d still be an Atheist”

  10. BruceC says:

    I agree with much about what Steve said. Most of athletic sports today are all about the $$$ and are way out of control. When I was in grammar school I played intramural basket ball as I was rather tall for my age. In high school I did not play and some of the coaches were upset with me. Too bad. By that time I developed a love for the outdoors: field &stream. Spent many days fishing, hunting, and camping with friends. When I am out there I feel close to God and enjoy his wonderful creation.

    I looked in last night to check the score twice and at half-time I hit the sack; as I was not feeling well. I left church early because of it. I have not watched a full football game since I don’t know when. And the other games hold no interest for me. Too bad that most TV programming isn’t spent on educating rather than entertaining people. Could you imagine the possibilities?

    I live only minutes from the National Baseball Hall of Fame and I have seen what it has done to our lovely area over the decades. I used to Christmas shop in that village but all it’s almost all “baseball souvenir” shops now. People are rabid about it and you get the feeling they are going to their temple.

    Soli Deo Gloria!

  11. oneg2dblu says:

    I would like to further qualify that statement, “Most sports are about the $$$.”
    I would add one word to that statement to make it more exclusive and not so all inclusive, a word placed right before the word sports, which for me would be, professional.
    Amateur sports, and the ahtletic spirit that they produce, or their fruit, are principled on discipline and developement of character, and the skill sets needed to perform at exceptional levels.

    Just like us saying Christmas has been turned into being all about the money, but we who know the game personally know it is about something else for the believer.
    I’m a believer in what sportsmanship can build into one’s character, and what discipline (work) can develope in a person who pursues any athletic endeavor.
    To me, A good wholesome work ethic never harms anyone.

  12. SFDBWV says:

    One of the defenses against depression for us is laughter; it also can be used as a distraction from the same.

    Often Matt likes for me to entertain him with my renditions of one of his old high school basketball team mate’s father. Like most of the boy’s fathers Larry tried to live through their son’s achievements on the basketball floor. Point is none of them were any good; they just like to remember it that way.

    Any time Larry’s son would have the ball Larry would start yelling for the boy to shoot the ball.

    Larry’s wife would tell him to shut up and Larry would make this aggravated face and in his most disturbed voice yell out “woman” the boy’s gotta learn…

    It’s been over 18 years since those days, but we still laugh.

    One of the boy’s mother’s was my favorite, Wilma, her own husband wouldn’t set with her because of all the yelling she did directed toward her son and of course the referee’s.

    I used to set with her just to egg her on and whip her into a frenzy that sometimes pushed her to run onto the floor and chase the referee in question into the locker room.

    I laughed then and still do though I should be ashamed of myself for encouraging her.

    Sports for young people is an excellent opportunity to learn a great many social truths, such as team work and fair play; but for some they only learn to desire to be #1 and will cheat to be seen as such; just like in life.

    Watching sports for many is a distraction from their own lives, an escape from the rigors and pressures of their daily lives. No harm in that I suppose, unless it becomes an obsession and takes away from those same duties they are trying to avoid.

    I do enjoy watching the Olympics if I get time, and enjoy the young people as they merge and meet others from all around the world. I admit I don’t care for the judging competitions as the judges often cheat for their own countries.

    Any way I didn’t want to leave you all thinking I am an old grouch and I apologize if that is how I may have sounded.


  13. poohpity says:

    Mart, I have noticed that one can find spiritual applications or associations with just about everything that happens in life. It can be sports or the seasons or anything for that matter because God is there to teach. We are not just sojourners we are life students of the living God. His Word comes alive in life application and experience when our desire is for Him.

  14. Artle says:

    Spectators are what drive the beast of sports empires. If there were no fans, there would be no stadiums or multi-million dollar paychecks. Spectators are what drive the advertising empires. If 100,000,000 people were not spectating, there would be no multi-million dollar 30 second ads.

    All that money flowing is not necessarily a bad thing. Fact is all the big paychecks turn into smaller paychecks as they get spent by the people who earned them and then earned by people doing the things they do to feed their families.

    It is easy to be offended by the big paychecks and the media hype about big money in sports does detract from the sport of it, but many pro sports people and organizations do great things with their wealth and influence. I would not be surprised if more children are helped by sports programs than by church programs. That may at first seem sad, unless you realize that all of the programs that help anyone are His programs and that the Body of Christ is not limited to church pews.

  15. poohpity says:

    I do not have any problems with people in sports or any other field earning the big bucks and I do not think it is my business in how they spend it either. The people in sports have a very short duration to their careers some may last into their thirties but physically they can not play very long at all and then come away with injuries that will effect the rest of their lives. Most times in sports anyway the money lasts about as long as their careers unless they have done some investing and I agree Artle some invest in children which is life changing for those they touch.

  16. oneg2dblu says:

    Steve, I too like to watch the Olympics when I can, but not to the point of obsession or for the purpose of avoiding anything.
    However, I do not follow professional ball in any
    form. Although that bouncing ball above the lyrics on the old tyme cartoons was addicting in my youth…
    I do like to watch a good game, but do not have the need to know the stats or the next time they play, just so I won’t miss anything and I don’t need to wear their logos or buy their stuff.

    However, back in the old days, long before my salvation, my old drinknig and smoking buddies and I would not ever miss a Lakers game, or any other opportunity to get high together.
    Of course all that has changed for me, and I do not even know how to spell Lakers any more, perhaps to many lost brain cells.. :O

  17. oneg2dblu says:

    Oops! I guess I’ve been away from the game to long, or out on the water a little to much lately, as I did not mean to say Lakers, I meant to say Celtic’s.
    Back in the 80’s when Larry, Tiny, and Kevin were playing their best game, and winning as well.
    I’ll have to blame that one a Senior Moment, because I’m high on Jesus today and nothing else, no longer using the old liquid spirits that mixed so well with all our sports watching back in the old days.

  18. poohpity says:

    What would make you feel the need to convince us that you no longer use the old liquid spirits? Even if you did we would love you anyway.

  19. poohpity says:

    I guess I should have said, I would love you anyway.

  20. BruceC says:

    Praying for you Steve in the midst of this winter storm. We may get up to 12″ here. Hope I will have a good “breathing day” today as I will have to get out and blow the snow from the driveway. If not, then I will have to get the young man down the road to plow me out. Praying for all that are affected.

    Soli Deo Gloria!

  21. SFDBWV says:

    Good morning Bruce, we are in the midst of an ice storm here, I have been out back scraping and salting down the walkways. It is slushy enough for me to plow off the street so I did. Praying the electric stays on.Thank you for your prayers and concerns.


  22. Bill says:

    Good Morning,

    Our winter in Michigan has been abysmal.

    It’s snowing hard as I type these words, and has been snowing all night. This morning I woke up to another 3-5 inches of snow.

    Meteorologists say over 70% of ALL the Great Lakes are now frozen over, something people haven’t seen in many decades.

    So this winter is long, very hard, and very dangerous.

    How about that global warming, eh?

    Steve, praying you make it through the ice storm okay.


  23. SFDBWV says:

    Two of the many comedies Matt and I like are the two movies “Major League”; they are predictable and goofy but at the same time an almost slapstick comedy that works for us.

    One of the characters “Cerano” starts off being a Voo Doo worshiper and worships a little statue of “JoBoo”, in an attempt to help him improve his batting skills.

    Unfortunately the Christian among the group is shown as a nerdy boob and something most Christians would be embarrassed to see.

    Then of course the rest of the cast are *normal*; but all have their superstitions, just not as pronounced as the character Cerano.

    It’s a comedy about Major League Baseball, not meant to be a vessel of spiritual awareness.

    However it reminds me of the many superstitions we all *hold on to* even if we think we have grown past them.

    My mother was very serious about such things as never handing a knife or scissors to someone as she didn’t want to test that old belief that doing so would cut the relationship between giver and receiver. She also would always toss salt over her shoulder if she spilled it, among many other little superstitions.

    I think even Christians have to admit that when they have success in any area, they try and copy the events that surrounded the success in order to feel as though it may enhance repeating it.

    Even in their prayer life people are still superstitious in the way and manner they pray.

    Superstition may be something encoded in our DNA or added to it from our ancestors and something we instinctively pay attention to.


    Hi Bill, I see you posted as I was writig. I seen a very interesting article from astronomers talking about the activity of sun spots and the earths weather a few weeks ago, looks like there is more to the weather than polotics as usual.

  24. bullwinkle says:

    Gary, I want to congratulate you and celebrate your recovery from alcohol addiction. I was on that same path many years ago. Based on the previous topic on how we express our gratitude for what Jesus has done for all of us, be encouraged that your actions express that well.

    I for one, love to follow the Broncos and was stunned by their terrible performance. Not only does a community benefit when well paid players spend their salaries, thousands of jobs are related to the sports industry, from the hot dog vendor to T=shirt sales. The entire downtown area of Denver was transformed when a professional baseball team came to town. Yes, sport can bring negatives, but what earthly endeavor hasn’t been effected by sinful man?

    Winter has finally come to NE Colorado. Not going to get to 0 degrees today, a week ago I was out on the golf course.


    P.S. And yes, I am in the area of Colorado that desired to start our own state. The Denver/Boulder area has gone crazy!

  25. poohpity says:

    Pete, my best friend lives in Broomfeild outside of Denver and when I went to visit her she took me to Boulder. Beautiful country!

    Praying for you all that are in the Polar Vortex. I actually can not even imagine what everyone is going through. My Aunt lives in Montana and it is warmer there, more than normal so the whether is different all over.

    People with superstitions seem to think that things depend on them and not on God but that is also true with many other areas. When people do not see prayers answered the way they think they ought to be resort in going to or reading things that have no real spiritual basis. Being desperate can cause people to do many odd things when their hope is in something other than the Lord.

  26. SFDBWV says:

    Pete I love your web name, I always loved the Bullwinkle and Rocky show and still sometimes recite Bullwinkle saying “It’s not that I don’t trust you William Tell, it’s just I have some Cheerio’s to sell.”

    Anyway, just wanted to say hello and add that in another life I worked in Colorado Springs at the Broadmore Hotel as a grounds keeper on the golf course. I was very young, but learned a lot about life during that episode of it.

    The things about sports that I find disturbing isn’t so much about the money and in truth I don’t even really want to rant about what I see as the negatives. I would rather hear from people who have used it as a springboard to be better people and hopefully better Christians.

    Hope to see more of you “Bullwinkle”.


  27. poohpity says:

    The self discipline it takes of praying, reading God’s Word and doing good as part of our daily routine while leaving the outcome up to God is similar to how an athlete prepares for their event. The Lord is developing our spiritual muscles of knowing Him, abiding in Him and being strong in His grace and if we do not develop our spiritual muscles they get atrophied. We start doing things for ourselves and satisfying the flesh rather than the spirit and we become depressed wanting to give up.

    Paul let us know that the Christian life is not easy it takes focus, self discipline and direction. How can we become more like Him if we do not spend anytime with Him to know what He is like. It takes a prompting from His Spirit as our coach to develop our faith and the only defensive weapon in our armor is His Word yet many face the world with a sword that is dull and useless. All athletes know hard work gets the reward of doing their personal best when the race is over can we look back and say that I have run a good race.

  28. poohpity says:

    This week I watched the story of Olympic Gold medalist Gabby Douglas and her journey toward the Gold. The first coach she had was not teaching her what was needed to go to the Olympics and that reminded me of our birth parents. They make mistakes and some give us the basics while some seem to destroy the very essence of who we are and there are some who keep us so sheltered by telling us how to think and feel but the growth is all still very limited.

    Gabby did some research and found a coach who took all she thought she know threw it out and began the process of recoaching her to be all that she could be. That seems to be a reflection of how the Lord works in our lives to learn His ways so we can grow and live life abundantly. He changes what we thought we knew and gives us a rebirth to start all over again with new purpose, meaning and to learn about a love that bigger than anything we could imagine beyond human limitations.

    There was pain in the process she went through and 6 months before it was time for the Olympics she made the decision she did not want to go on. She had been away from home 1 1/2 years and wanted her old life back. The whole family had given up much for her, the youngest, to go for her passion and shared with her they did not want her to quit. She had really messed up during one of her competitions and was feeling defeated so she was going to walk away. I think sometimes that is how we can feel about our Christian walk when things are not looking to good or great tragedy happens but there is something inside that just keeps us going persevering, it seems to be His spirit within us.

    Gabby went on to win the Gold in personal best and as a member of the USA team. We too in our Christian life do our personal best and also work within our team to go for that prize of eternal life to be in God’s presence forever.

  29. SFDBWV says:

    Apparently Bruce and Bill’s prayers on the behalf of my weather worked out well as we ended up with temperatures in the 40’s and rain, which melted the ice and no loss of power for us.

    However only 30 miles from here and lower in elevation there are thousands still without power today.

    Thank all who prayed for us.

    It was good that I got all that icy slush plowed off our streets as come afternoon and evening the wind picked up to a winter howl and the temperatures dropped into the teens, where they remain as I write this. We picked up another couple inches of snow overnight to help give traction to the icy patches, and it continues to snow today.

    Looks like the sports angle of this conversation isn’t taking any root, nor the superstitions that abound in the lives of people as well.

    Hope this finds all well and safe.


  30. poohpity says:

    Could it be the reason the sports angle hasn’t taken root is because the essence of the topic is not understood?

  31. oneg2dblu says:

    pooh… in answer to your question posted 2-4 7:32 pm.

    “What would make you feel the need to convince us that you no longer use the old liquid spirits? Even if you did we would love you anyway.”

    I do not feel the need to convince anyone about my current lifestyle, to be loved here, or not.

    I wonder,”Why would you need to ask such?”

    I was just sharing a story like everyone else, and thanks to all for loving me anyway.

    Actually, I was only connecting the dots of spirituallity and sports, the topic, and realized the only spirits we shared back then were liquid in nature, and that was the whole reason for my story.

    I will admit I was never a boozer or addicted to alcohol, just a social drinker, but smoking cigarettes and pot were my two claimed addictions that were put away and out of my life before any receiving of my current salvation.

    It took some real personal change on my part to accomplish that putting away, and hanging with a different crowd who also lived differently was a huge help in that process.

    though I did become addicted to something else, which may have helped, health clubs and body building.

    So, Birds of a feather, do hang together. That is a very simple, and yet truth revealing premise.

    What I guess I am saying is this…
    I you think you may have a gambling problem and you are waiting on the Lord to take it away, it might be wise to stop booking Vegas for a vacation destination every year with your current buddies.

    I believe we all can take an active part in our ability to change our lifestyles, or our ability not to as well.

    I am sorry if I’ve misled anyone into thinking a was an alcoholic as well. I don’t think I can take any credit for overcoming any booze issue, as I never had to have a drink to function, or to not function. If it was offered and available I would drink some though and I enjoyed doing it.

    My sister, a now confessed alcoholic, says, “If you have just one drink a day, every day, you qualify as an alcoholic.”

    I thought that was a rather extreme position for her to have, especially since my Dad would have a cocktail before diner every night, but it may be right on.

    I do admit having just one cigarette a day makes you smoker, and one drink a day a drinker, but an alcoholic to me seems to be a touch more than that one drink.

    Do not try to take away my coffee though, that I know
    I am currently addicted to. Sip!


  32. oneg2dblu says:

    bullwinkle… thanks for that note of praise, it is always welcome here. We all neeed it.
    Knowing Christ was the most life changing event in my life, and the possession of His Holy Spirit, is my best addiction yet.
    It heals all our diseases, knows all our needs, and helps us through all things. For those who have the Helper that God provides and listens to Him, and that actually changes us, or allows us to try again, then all our praise goes to Praise God!

  33. poohpity says:

    Gary, just trying to bring a smile to your heart and face nothing else, no need for the defensiveness.

  34. oneg2dblu says:


  35. Artle says:

    Here is a scriptural reference to the sport we are engaged in, hopefully the wisdom side.

    Doing wickedness is like sport to a fool, And so is wisdom to a man of understanding. Proverbs 10:23 NASB

  36. Mart De Haan says:

    Am loving the conversation and appreciate your willingness to talk about the bright and dark sides of whatever it is that today is turning the eyes of the world to the slopes, ice, and playing fields of Sochi.

    Yet for all of us, we will all see it from our own perspective.

    Today my wife and I will join our extended family to stand with a nephew and nieces as they bury their dearly loved mother. Together we’ll grieve the loss of a sister-in-law who, herself, was widowed 10 years ago when one of my younger brothers suddenly died during one of his daily 3 to 5 mile runs. While the loss that has consumed our week will make sport seem irrelevant, the games of the world will at the same time provide some needed distraction… even as they remind us that when and how we win or lose says something important about the life that defines us.

  37. SFDBWV says:

    My sympathies Mart to you and your family.


  38. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart —

    Praying you and your family will be lovingly drawn together in this time of grief.


    PS We have a dandy snowstorm w/ 20F temp. Can’t compare to those eastern storms — but the moisture is welcome.

  39. bullwinkle says:

    Gary, sorry that I misunderstood your relationship with alcohol. Your experience sounds very similar to mine. I joke that as a 20 something, I did everything I could to become an alcoholic, it just didn’t take.
    In regard to sport, it is a very important part of my life. I can’t wait for spring so I can hop back on my bike and put in some road work. I have only been shut out from playing golf for a couple of weeks, but it looks like it will be a long time before golf will be available in this area.
    When my children were young, coaching Little League and Pee Wee basketball consumed great portions of time. As a basketball coach I am 0 for life. Kids would cry when they found out that they were relegated to my team. They knew that they had not quite made the grade.
    Sometimes not making the “team” can be difficult for a kid, but I feel that overall sport helps to build character and teaches many life lessons.
    Not quite sure how to tie that to spirituality, but as Bill would say, that is just my opinion.

  40. poohpity says:

    Mart, my heart is filled with sadness for your nieces and nephew who have lost their mom in what seems so early in their lives and for the rest of the family.

  41. oneg2dblu says:

    Mart, Beatitude in Prayer going out for all those mourning the loss of life and those who will suffer from it, and to be able receive His light in their present darkness.

    Bullwinkle… I like your confession of trying your best, when you were in your twenties, but it didn’t stick. : )

    That is one place where I would “not” advise, “Try and try again, for failure is not an option.”

    Hope you had a great ride, I may dust mine off for a little spin as well. Which type of bike where you riding, as I don’t want to dust of the wrong one. :0

    Now back to spirituallity and sport, it is so subtle yet very revealing that we in America today are caught up in this, “Intoxification of Gradualism,” that now even the USA sports committee can’t seem to stay on message, even in the purity of Olympic Sports, as we or should I say those cunning few with a specific agenda, can’t go to the games and just play their best without also carrying their own message, and their own flag by coloring the of Olympics with their rainbow of colors, that supports another message, another agenda, and “another spirit” into sport.

    But as Mart says, “Yet for all of us, we will all see it from our own perspective.”

    Which closely echos God’s word in this scripture’s reference:

    “All a man’s ways seem right to him, but in the end lead to death.”

    What common spirit should all athletes carry into the Olympic Games no matter what country they come from, what religion they believe, what nationality of orign, or what gender they prefere, they should carry the Olympic Spirit.

    They should carry only the flag of their specific National Representation at the Olympic Games, and leave your other personal effects with the rest of your baggage at home.

    To me, anyone who carries too big a cross for their own purpose, will stumble and get in the way of others who want to be free of it.

    That’s only my opinion, you will have your own as well.


  42. SFDBWV says:

    Gary I don’t know if you are familiar with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association or not, but I am a regular contributor and so get their monthly “Decision” magazine.

    I suggest if you don’t already read it to get a copy of this months (February 2014) articles.

    Also for the sports angle there is a superb story in it about Stephen Curry of NBA’s Golden State Warriors for all who may enjoy a genuine good guy who “Lives for Christ on and off the court.”


  43. BruceC says:

    Praying for you and all in your family Mart. The Lord is with you all!!

    Soli Deo Gloria!

  44. SFDBWV says:

    It is sadly true that there are certain things that bring all of us to a common understanding of what is truly important.

    We can talk about a great many things and have all varieties of opinions, but when we are faced with such words as cancer or death, suddenly all those high minded conversations aren’t important at all.

    We become less angry, more sober minded and often more gentle towards others we love.

    Every day is met with the trials of life, the best any of us can do is ease the suffering of another any way we can. Sometimes it seems more like a trek than a race and more like mountain climbing than skiing. However it makes one look at sunrises and sunsets with a different eye and the winning of medal have no significance at all.

    Tell someone today that you love them and make them believe it.


  45. poohpity says:

    I don’t know if it is within our power to make someone believe they are loved but it is within our power to treat them like we do. Showing respect, not demanding our own way, allowing others to be themselves, listening and not forcing our beliefs on them. In other words stepping back and asking ourselves would I want someone to treat me the way I am treating them. That may be what is meant by “how we play the game”. I know it is speaking of sports but it is so applicable to life as well.

  46. poohpity says:

    Words never seem to be enough when they are not followed by actions.

  47. oneg2dblu says:

    Yes Steve… I remeber how 911 had that impact, suddenly everyone was flying the same flag and American flag sales hit an all time high.
    Everyone was an American, not a certain brand of American, just a common every day, threatened, violated, attacked, awakened to the evils in this world American.
    When it hits your door, hits on your land, is in your face, and when we all see the evil for what it is, it becomes a universal WE are America moment.
    Of course, it didn’t last very long because we are also human and we tend to find our way back to our own path again and redefine our little evils as being not as bad.
    Heck, there are some who even think because they are Christian they can do “no wrong” in God’s eyes! :o

  48. oneg2dblu says:

    I’m sure that those who flew those planes into the World Trade Center thought they had “their right” to do so, and they were only listening to their God.

  49. oneg2dblu says:

    I wonder how many of us, on that day, were thinking of showing them love our , or loving those who attacked us?

    We being true Christians, or were we One Nation Under God back then, and felt nothing but forgiveness and love for them, right?

    “Words never seem to be enough if not followed by actions.”

  50. oneg2dblu says:

    Now to go back to Steve’s comment about showing love to our loved ones today in a way that they can see or know for sure it is real, that is certainly what we all should do as well.

    That should be something that is automatic, easy, tangable, and well within our capacity, but will we actually do it?

    Thanks to Steve for sharing that one, as we can all be more than our old habits tell us, or our comfort level prevents us from doing, or as we go about our daily tasks, our business,
    innocently thinking, they already know we love them, even if we don’t take time to show it…

  51. quietgrace says:

    My condolences to you and your family for the loss and reminders of previous losses you will encounter. God’s grace is sufficient, as you well know. As time seems to stand still for a moment it is in that stillness our grieving brings refreshment as the new light dawns. Grace

  52. poohpity says:

    Gary, what good is it to only love those who love us back even non-believers can do that? To love those who do things like 9/11 needs an unnatural type of love that is available to all through Jesus Christ just like he did to you.

  53. Bill says:

    Love is so important!

    Steve is right: “Tell someone today that you love them and make them believe it.”

    Gary is right: “…but will we actually do it?”

    Pooh is right: “What good is it to only love those who love us back?”

    This passage in 1 John has been on my mind lately. I thought I’d share it this evening:

    * By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. *

    (1 John 4:13-21, ESV)

  54. poohpity says:

    Bill, you are a hoot. I would really like to take credit for that but that is what Jesus taught from the sermon on the mount. :-)

  55. oneg2dblu says:

    Yes Bill… and this is from 1 John 3:18 NIV, “Dear children let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions and truth.”

    1 John 4:2,3 NIV, “This is how we know we love the children of God; by loving God and carrying out his commands. This is love for God; to obey his commands.”

    John 14:21 “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me.”

    Where else should we start this love fest, but at the beginning?

    So, obeying His commands is showing Him how much we really love Him, and by putting Him first, as He is our first love, is a very good place to start, by loving those who love us.

    If we will indeed obey His commands, we will love Our Lord who first loved us, by more than lip service as there will also be evidence in our actions, which speak much louder than words to the watching world around us.

    Our walk can make a world of difference, where all our talk just makes a world of noise.

    “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world, red and yellow, black or white, they are precious in His sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world.”

    We are His children…according to 1 John 3:18.


  56. oneg2dblu says:

    I hope I have the lyric correct, it has been many years since I sang it in Sunday school as a child.

  57. poohpity says:

    His commandments for us to follow is to believe in Jesus Christ and to love others. (1 John 3:23-24 NIV) By doing that we show we are controlled by His Holy Spirit.

  58. SFDBWV says:

    Gary the 2014 February edition of BGEA Decision magazine has no articles about 911, I am sorry if you misunderstood. It actually has articles that share your thoughts on several levels and I thought you may be encouraged by reading them.

    All; if you don’t show love to the people in your own home first how can you possibly think you can show love to others outside of your house?

    Jesus brought the message of salvation *first* to the house of Israel before extending it to all others and the only time in the Bible the word “infidel” is used is to declare the depravity of one who doesn’t provide for his family.

    Whereas I can agree it is easier to love someone who loves you, I also say that love has to begin right there in your own home. If you *say* you can love all others including your enemies and can’t show love to the very people who love you enough to convince them of that love, you have a very serious problem.

    Either you are a liar and a hypocrite or don’t know what real love is.

    Love is sacrifice and very well defined by Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13.

    If you don’t demonstrate these characteristics in your own home, who are you kidding by trying to make others outside your home believe you can love them; even your enemy?

    The words that come out of your mouth or that you write are the thoughts that come from your mind and your minds thoughts come straight from your heart.


  59. poohpity says:

    Steve that is so true about what comes out of our mouths shows the condition of our hearts.

  60. Bill says:


    I’ve never known anyone who constantly felt the need to argue, even about something as beautiful and uplifting as love.

    I don’t know what by you think I mean when I talk about love here on BTA, but not even the scriptures I provide seem to be enough to satisfy you. You have to add something more, to clarify, to modify, to narrow the focus, to define. You spend so much time boxing God in and telling us what love is and is not that I cannot even imagine what life in your church must be like.

    For the record, I don’t mean a Bacchanalian orgy of self indulgence, of unbridled revelry in the flesh.

    Just love! Just go out into the world, filled with the Holy Spirit, and LOVE! Do what you feel led by the Spirit to do…and let others do the same.

    Love covers a multitude of sins, Brother Gary.

    So it’s okay. Really. Relax.


  61. oneg2dblu says:

    Bill, I’m sorry if I added another word after you have spoken and you have found it to be only dis-ing or opposing in nature.

    It is actually more balanced and healthy to show both sides of every issue.

    Loving within limits, loving by God’s principles and commandments tell us, and freely with no rules, is not God’s way according to His Word.

    But, we need to allow all of us to express ourselves here, or we would have a closed dictatorship and not an open mic. .
    Does the bible not also say to us, “Love of the world is enmity with God?”

    Entering another perspective does not have to be considered arguing, it is only expression.
    Unless we start arguing about it. :o

    You’ve made your point, I’ve made mine.

    Have Blessed day my Brother, and relax…

  62. oneg2dblu says:

    Steve, yes, I agree it must start at home and with God, and in the family, the family of God. Then, with God’s rules established, across the street to our neighbor.

    If we can’t even love at that first level, loving God first, or only loving those who love us, then to show the rest of humanity any real love would be self-motivated for gain, and possibly deceptively fraudulent at best.

    All love that does not start with God first, is the love that the rest of the world already uses, and we know they are at enmity with God.

    Follow the leader of love, which is found only in following Jesus Christ who is love, not the world’s opinion of what love should look like.

    Even the Pagan’s, enemies of God, love those who love them….

    I know some will say I’m only preachin’ to the choir and they are right, and because I know that the world can hide there also, I’ve been there, done that!
    In His Love, Gary

  63. oneg2dblu says:

    Steve, thanks for the magazine tip, I tried to read them online, and have not yet succeeded.
    I do know of their many Ministries, and do not subscribe to that magazine,yet. Hint…
    Samaritain’s Purse is another one I do participate in.

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